Did you ever hear the saying, “What goes around, comes around?”
Basically, the idiom means, one’s actions or behavior will eventually have consequences for one, even if indirectly. The phrase typically refers to one being a victim of the same negative circumstances that they have inflicted on others.
Just to be clear … it’s not like I inflicted anything on anyone. It kind of just happened… more or less.
What I am about to tell you could happen to approximately half the population on the third planet from the sun.
Looking back to my not so distant past, I can remember a time when I was sitting in a Bible class as a college junior at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, with approximately 40 other students laughing at the professor — because his fly was down.
I should have never laughed. It came back to haunt me with a vengeance.
Several of my college counterparts, who were being loud and boisterous when the professor entered the lecture hall, toned down the volume to a low whisper as our instructor took the podium.
However, it wasn’t long after our mentor’s oratory commenced that the whispers, along with jabs to the arm, as well as notes being passed from one end of the room to the other, began.
At first, I didn’t understand the cause of all the commotion. That is until one of the many notes circulating around the room landed on my desk. After reading the rather short message, my jaw dropped open. I was at a loss for word.
Sitting in the rear of the class, I peered out from behind the other students sitting in front of me to witness the object of all the finger pointing and stifled laughs throughout the classroom.
Our teacher stood at the front of the class with the zipper on his trousers down. As if that wasn’t bad enough… a piece of his shirttail was protruding from the opening.
At first, I was a little upset, even angry, over the immaturity of my fellow classmates for their childish mockery of a man who was oblivious to the embarrassing situation before him.
But… it was not long after that, I too, joined in on their rather juvenile antics.
Our professor put his hands in his front pockets and began to move his hands in such a way that his fly kept opening and closing.
A couple of students had to get up and leave the room. Because they were unable to contain their laughter. The girl sitting next to me was laughing so hard under her breath, tears were rolling down her cheeks.
We all wanted to say something to our instructor, but no one was brave enough to stand up to the task. So the jokes and laughter continued throughout the rest of the class period and for several weeks afterward.
Fast forward… a year later when I was doing my student teaching at Kickapoo High School at the southern end of the Queen City of the Ozarks, the “comes around” part was returned to me by my young charges.
I thoroughly enjoyed my student teaching practicum as I instructed three “Liberty & Law” classes and one “Twentieth Century American History” class, two of my most favorite subjects.
Although I had a few students who liked to stir up trouble, the majority of the juniors and seniors under my tutelage were exceptional young men and women.
I looked forward to spending time with them each and every day. I learned from them as much, if not more, than they learned from me.
Although this particular day started like any other, I soon hit a curve in the road that sent me on a downward spiral for the remainder of the day.
I came to school at morning the exact same way my college professor had done in the not to distant past, with one exception, my shirt tail wasn’t sticking out of the zipper. I even begin my lecture by standing in front of the podium for all to see.
Even though I didn’t know why several of my students were holding back stifled giggles, fortunately for me I was quick to return to the safety and comfort of the high bar stool sitting behind the lectern.
After my lesson was complete with several minutes left before the bell sounded, I allowed my young charges to talk quietly among themselves.
A couple of the guys in the back corner of the room wanted to talk with me. Still being a student in college myself, I was always eager to communicate with my scholars, some of which, were only three years my junior.
A few minutes into the conversation, one of the young men told me my zipper was down.
I was mortified.
Looking back on that horrific day, I definitely handled the situation in the wrong manner.
Instead of looking down to see if my fly was actually open and saying something witty like, “I thought I felt a draft down there,” or “I’m glad I wore underwear today,” I simply ran out of the room.
Sure enough when I looked down, the front fly zipper to my trousers was wide open.
I was totally humiliated.
Although I did not want to face my students again, I had no choice in the matter. I had to walk back into the room as if nothing happened while hearing whispers about the room.
Like my former college instructor, I was the subject of many jokes from that day forward.
I’m just glad someone had the courage to tell me about it during the first class period, instead of letting me be the subject of humiliation for the entire day. Of course, I’m quite certain the students in my other classes heard all about it.
I don’t know if that particular college professor ever found out he was the subject of numerous jokes. But I’m sure if he did know, I knew exactly what he went through.
A word to the wise for the planet’s male population — always check your fly before you leave the house or after using the restroom.
Mark S. Price is a former city government/county education reporter for The Sampson Independent. He currently resides in Clinton.